Airbus Helicopters will next week begin deliveries of the H145M rotorcraft to its German air force launch customer.
On 8 December, the service will receive the first two of an eventual 15 aircraft configured for special forces missions. Deliveries of the 3.7t helicopters, derived from the latest version of the civil model, will run until 2017.
In addition, the initial aircraft for the Royal Thai Navy and army, which have respective orders for five and six units, are also in an advanced stage of production at the manufacturer’s Donauwörth facility in Germany. Deliveries will start in 2016.
Meanwhile, Airbus Helicopters is continuing development work as it looks to add offensive capabilities to the Turbomeca Arriel 2E-powered twin.
Germany’s examples will be armed with retractable pintle-mounted M134 7.62mm miniguns, with initial test firings scheduled for April 2016. Further work will be performed next year to integrate other ballistic weapons not presently selected by any customer, including MAG 58 door guns and axially-configured 12.7mm guns and unguided rockets, says programme manager Scott Tumpak. These will be located on weapons pylons on either side of the helicopter, each with a 200kg (440lb) payload.
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